Monday, January 26, 2009

Corduroy Pinafores

Made the girls pinafores / jumpers in natural corduroy.
I bought three different corduroy fabrics before Christmas,
intending to sew them Christmas dresses but didn't really
have the time or inclination to draft a pattern till now.
After all that crafty sewing, it feels good to return to some
serious dressmaking. Drafting at 13 (when I sewed my first
skirt) was fun and made me feel grown-up like my mum
but drafting in my 30's when I am distracted by small
children and thinking of what I need to cook for supper
reminds me that I am my mum. I am pleased to say, though,
that it is not as hard as I was afraid it might be, after a
decade of non-drafting . It was slow-going at first, willing
my rusty brain to remember what was so logical as a teenager
with my mother-teacher closely guiding me. But it all came
slowly back.
And by the time I get through all three
pieces of fabric,
I will have had lots of practice - each
dress pattern
would have had to be drafted in three sizes!

That's 9 dresses! That's also insane, but then
I've never met a sewing person who wasn't.

Anyway, I started with the simplest of the three fabrics -
this one is already embellished with embroidered flowers
so it needed just some trim at the neckline and skirt hem

and some fancy buttons at the back.

Now that all the good stuff has been said,
I thought I'd report on where I went wrong.

1 Botched the lining
The left picture is how the lining/yoke of a sleeveless dress should look. The right picture is how Dress 1 (Emily's) turned out:

I cut the lining yoke to stop where the pleats began and did a separate facing for the lower half of the armhole. Had to slip-hem the entire lining to the outer fabric by hand! It turned out much neater than the correct version but so not worth the extra time.

2 Forgot to leave allowance for the overlap button panel at the back.
I got it right for Emily's (left picture) but completely botched up Jenna's. Had to unpick (hate, hate, hate) almost the entire bodice/lining and trim (I foolishly and complacently sewed that on first!) to insert extra fabric for an overlap panel (right picture). The verdict: I actually liked the corrected closure on Jenna's dress more but it would have been so much simpler to have put that into the original pattern.

3 Took measurements of children while they were running.
Verdict: lassoing them with the measuring tape and making rough guesses of their dimensions while in motion will not yield a Good Fit.

Overall, though, more hits than misses. They fit the girls and (more importantly) no one drew on herself with markers or spilled tar or other dark sticky substance on her dress.


  1. That is so nice!!! I can't imagine how patient you have to be to sew 3 X3 dresses! Yes, we talk about learning curve but it's quite extreme. I would surely be bored! Will you be posting pattern and tutorial for this? :)

  2. I'm so impressed! Those dresses definitely are more hit than miss! I don't think I would even contemplate drafting my own pattern!!!

    Lucy x

    P.S. I laughed out loud at the idea of you trying to lasso the girls with the tape measure!

  3. so lovely! i'm so impressed by your pattern drafting abilities!!! pleats and everything - wow. your mom must have been a good teacher! love them!!! and am inspired (once again) to sew for my girls, but I should probably finish Al's quilt first, and Sophie's purse, and my mom's ironing cover (the board is a weird size), and and and : )

  4. Your daughters are going to wonder why other girls' moms are useless and don't make their clothes. And I trust you will teach them to wield a mean sewing needle and machine if they so desire, yes?
    Gosh, I wish I had taken that course at FIT in NYC. Darn.

  5. Oh I love those! I am so jealous your mother taught you to draft patterns -- I just sort of make it up as I go but I'm sure it would be helpful to have some official pointers.

    Those are beautiful and your girls look so cute in them! Nicely done!

  6. Wow! You MADE THE PATTERN YOURSELF?! I just sewed two dresses for my daughter - used the same pattern for both. But I had bought the pattern and still made many mistakes along the way! :-) It was actually so good to read that I am not the only one who has to undo a seam because I forgot something ... But I cannot at all imagine making a pattern myself! I would not even know where to start! Amazing work, really!!!


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